Sep
06
2009
0

I Just Make It Look Easy

Easy-to-make iPhone

Easy-to-make iPhone

A company once told me someone had offered to build permanent disability calculators for their website in three months for $7,500.  One said six months and $20,000.  Recently, another suggested it would take them a year and $40,000.  My response is usually some variation on “You’ve got to take that deal.  You’re wasting your time talking to me.”

It’s no big secret that building a great product takes a lot of work.  The important thing to remember is that just because something is easy-to-use, that doesn’t mean its easy-to-make. [1]

Real iPhone

Difficult-to-make iPhone

Let’s take the iPhone for example.  Everyone will concede its an easy phone to use.  However, it was released more than two years ago on 6/29/2007. [2]  In that time the other players – BlackBerry, LG, Nokia, and Palm have all been trying to catch up.  If this easy-to-use phone were easy-to-build everyone would have their own version.

Look, there’s no special magic to building a website like this.  Really, anyone can do it.  All you have to do is learn the calculations inside-and-out, deconstruct the math involved in the various calculations, learn some client and server side programming languages, learn a content management system, make it all work together, keep current on changes in the law, start all over again each time the law changes, and earn the respect of the workers’ compensation community.  Once done, you’ll have your very own workers’ compensation calculator website!

To return to the lesson of the iPhone, building a touch screen phone that can play music and surf the web is totally doable.  Doing it right is another matter entirely.

  1. Visit the link for a PDF of a cut-and-fold iPhone.  Thanks Gizmodo! []
  2. Wikipedia link. []
Sep
01
2009
0

Its not you, its me

Dont worry, its not your fault

Don't worry, its not your fault

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a beta tester, Jeff Duarte, who was having trouble with one of my calculators.  He said that he didn’t really understand how to use a particular calculator.  My response was:

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions.

Seriously – sorry Jeff, its my bad.  My goal is to make these calculators so easy and intuitive to use that no workers’ compensation professional would have any trouble figuring out how to use them.  If you don’t figure out how to use it just by looking at it, I designed it wrong. [1] Getting feedback is a very important and instructive process for me.  It lets me figure out what works for people and what doesn’t.

The good news is that Jeff”s suggestions have given me an idea on how to make two calculators easier to use and for two entirely new features!

So, send me an e-mail if you have an idea on how I can make a calculator more intuitive, easier to use, or just plain work better!

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions!
  1. Photo courtesy of TreMichLan.  Terrible pun – all me! []
Aug
26
2009
0

Happy Belated Birthday!

Happy Birthday PDRater!

Happy Birthday PDRater!

I’ve been so busy lately I completely forgot to mention PDRater’s second birthday![1]

This site was launched on July 23, 2007.  For both of you who were using it back then, you remember it was an ugly ugly baby.

I’ve really enjoyed working on this website for the last two years.  I use the word “work,” but I don’t really mean it.  Building calculators, creating charts, and unraveling the mysteries of Ogilvie are my hobbies too.  :)

What would you like to see from this website in the coming year?  Please let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail.  I already have several (more) new calculators in the pipeline, but I’m always open to ideas.

  1. Photo courtesy of rmansoorian []
Aug
21
2009
1

Calling all guinea pigs

This guinea pigs finds PDRater easy to use!

This guinea pigs finds PDRater easy to use!

I have several new calculators in the works and could use a few guinea pigs to help test them.  A few days ago I sent an e-mail to a select few of this website’s users asking them to participate.  As a result of their testing and feedback, I’ve made a few changes to these new calculators.

However, I’d also appreciate the help of anyone interested in testing.  If you are willing to provide feedback and want to try out these new calculators, please send me an e-mail.

Aug
17
2009
0

PDRater, Verify!®, and You

Privacy, please!

Privacy, please!

I recently launched a new social security verification toolOne user raised some very important issues – privacy and security. [1] The commenter pointed out that the Verify!® social security number lookup tool did not appear to utilize a secure connection – and could permit the unintended dissemination of private information.

To this, I make the following statements/suggestions:

  1. This website does not utilize secure connections.  There, I’ve said it.  If this is a concern for you, no one will blame you for not using this tool.
  2. This SSN look up tool does not ask for any other information besides the social security number.  By itself, the social security number probably isn’t particularly useful to anyone.
  3. The commenter’s concerns about keyloggers and viruses are valid.  However, such things would be able to access your information no matter how secure I make this website.
  4. Its generally a good idea to be very careful about what information you send out onto the internet.  If you’re not sure something is safe, it probably is not.
  5. By using this site you’re agreeing to the disclaimers, terms of use, and privacy policy.  If you still have additional questions, you can always try to e-mail me.

Thanks Zeke!

  1. Photo courtesy of hyku []

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